In 2017, the number of apps removed by Google represents a 70% increase from the amount in 2016.
Leveraging machine learning models and techniques, Google’s Android Security Centre removed over 700,000 malicious apps in 2017, many of which displayed adult ads to children or tried to capture user devices to use as slaves in DDoS attacks.
Product manager for Google Play, Andrew Ahn made the announcement, adding that 99% of apps which were deemed harmful were deleted before anyone could install them.
In 2017, Google dedicated the bulk of its technology to malware scanning and detection under the Google Play Project and users with Android devices can manually activate scan on their phones via the update section.
The most popular types of ads which were used to deceive users were copycat apps with logos, features and promotional copy similar to popular mainstays, usually with paid or fake reviews, something Google actively seeks to track down.
Potentially harmful applications act as Trojan horses for malware to phish user’s personal information or commit SMS fraud by sending texts without the user’s knowledge.
While these potentially harmful applications may be small in number, they pose a threat to Android users and this is why Google in investing heavily in keeping them out of the app store.
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